The recent social media judgment that Alex Jones received banning him from the majority of our major social media platforms has myself and many others concerned for a variety of reasons.
It isn’t that I believe Alex Jones or buy into the fact that Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City, Sept 11, Pearl Harbor or any of the other catastrophic events that Jones and his media outlets propagate as government conspiracies for the purpose of forming an elite world order. I just happen to believe that, as Americans, we should be the most supportive of free speech when it is in opposition to our own.
It is very easy to support someone else’s right to say agreeable and supportive things that align with our own thoughts and ideas. It is the opposite and extremely difficult to support and fight for ideas, conspiracies and slander when it goes against our beliefs, hurts others and divides public opinion.
Take, for example, many of the families devastated by the shootings at Sandy Hook who felt outrage towards Alex Jones claiming that their heartbreak and loss were a fabrication by the federal government.
I too ended up being caught up in one of the “catastrophic concoctions of the U.S. government” according to Jones. Like thousands of Americans, I joined the Navy one week after the attacks on 9/11. According to Jones, that makes me and many of my friends ignorant pawns who raced off to defend our country all because of another big government lie.
Since several of my friends did not come home alive, I can understand the resentment and outrage of those who feel betrayed by Jones and other conspiracy theorists. Again, because of the way I feel about 1st Amendment rights and free speech, this is exactly the time that I believe we must be the most supportive of dissenting and opposing views. That is why I will continue to fight for his right to spout his theories and opinions as ridiculous and outrageous as I personally believe them to be.
There are many groups, news networks and public figures out there that I believe to be doing just as much damage and cause equal levels of hurt and division all supported by false narratives and half stories that have not had their voice diminished. Like for example ANTIFA, BLM, KKK, Louis Farrakhan, liberal media outlets and George Soros to name a few.
Again, I don’t believe that any of them should be censored by the government or by social media platforms. If we lose the collective agreement as a people to support the rights of others to voice their beliefs, opinions and theories, especially when they are in opposition to our own… then we have ultimately lost our way and a major cornerstone to the framework our founders created.
Many of us who think in terms of the big picture understand that this slippery slope that starts with Alex Jones and his outlets like Info Wars can lead to some very dangerous places where group think is mandated and opposition is forbidden. Many will argue that Alex Jones has not been denied free speech and that these tech giants have every right to promote the kind of narratives and behavior they desire. I doubt few would argue that the reach and ability to spread his truth has been greatly diminished.
So, who is next? Many of us are aware that these social giants have already been caught shadow banning and stifling the reach of prominent conservative voices as they have shifted from a growth model towards a “community building” model.
My question to those who are for this kind of banishment that Alex Jones has recently been sentenced to is this… how long will it be before you are the one being ostracized for your beliefs that no longer fit the agenda? How long will it take before you and your voice are no longer welcomed in the social community?
We have already seen an attempt to ban conservative speakers like Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter and others from a free exchange of ideas at our institutions of “higher learning”. We have also seen calls to pronounce portions of their conservative messages as “hate speech”, which is how the tech giants were able to justify the removal of Alex Jones.
If things stay on this course I’m sure it won’t be long before my voice and the voice of others are stifled and removed altogether. I wonder what our founding fathers would have to say about this? I believe we need to continue to keep a close eye on this situation and fight to get back to a time where if we don’t agree with another’s point of view we remember the phrase, “we may not agree but I’m glad we live in a place where we can disagree and I will fight for your right to express that disagreement.”
Remember, it’s always been easy to support free speech when it aligns with our own. It’s most important to protect it when the message is one of contrast and difference to our point of view.
Eli Crane is a Believer, Husband, Father, Navy SEAL and the CEO of Bottle Breacher. He’s a veteran advocate, brand ambassador for Sig Sauer, op-ed writer, founding member of Operation Innocence and a proud Whiskey Patriot.